Kyrgyzstan
Osh Oblasty

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30 travelers at this place

  • Day160

    Osh Tourism Festival

    August 17, 2019 in Kyrgyzstan ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    When we arrived in Osh two days ago, we had every intention to simply get the car in good shape, stock up and straight away leave for the Pamir Highway again.
    Well, as usual, plans change. We staid at Sunny hostel (where we were allowed to only use facilities and sleep in the car in the carpark) and I saw a flyer for the Osh tourism festival immediately. A chance to see local culture and customs up close couldn't be missed.
    So Tom, I and the Kudliks (who had caught up with us at this stage) decided to stay for a few more days.
    And we weren't disappointed. After another day of getting things organised, we meet back at the hostel ("Visit Osh" for the last night in the city as part of the festival organisers had prebooked "Sunny") around 5pm and walk towards the festival ground. Police cars blocking the road and a few more scattered people than usual are the first sign of reaching the event.
    Amazingly, we've made it just in time: the silk road caravan, consisting of a few horsemen, a camel, two yaks and different groups displaying the various ethnicities of the region, is passing right in front of us. Music, smiles and waves and lots of pictures follow.
    Once the caravan and we reach the actual festival site, we get to watch crafts, performances and even a fashion show - whose stars were the grandmas displaying gorgeous, ethnic dresses and funny smirks. However, the real attraction seems to be, well, us. Foreigners. The tourists visiting Osh. We're being interviewed, photos are taken, videos shot. We hardly walk another two metres before someone else is excited to practice their English and in some cases their German with us. Suddenly, we're on the other side of the fence. We talk to locals, the volunteers at the festival (Osh's youth), the police commander and the Kudliks even get to meet the mayor. It's interesting to see how important tourism appears to be for this region and to which extent everyone wants to make us feel welcome.
    It culminates in two girls quickly approaching me in order to gift us some honey. Just like that. How sweet!
    All in all, I'd say the festival was not only a display of regional costumes and customs, but of the heartfelt hospitality that runs through the local people' veins. Definitely worth staying for a little longer in the city.
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  • Day174

    The sound of silence

    August 31, 2019 in Kyrgyzstan ⋅ ☀️ 10 °C

    Funny. The last few days, wind and the sound of rushing water were our constant companions. Now, nothing.
    We've left Tajikistan's beautiful rivers behind to return to Kyrgyzstan's stunning mountains (not that Tajikistan had been short of them, but here they are greener and more accessible). A few dozen kms after the border, we take a small path right through the village leading much much farther into the valley. We climb up now dried up grassy hills, drive past a few seemingly abandoned houses, slowly but steadily making our way to today's destination: a small, pristine mountain lake, hidden back here with no civilisation around it.
    We can't quite get down to the shore to park, hence we stay on a little plateau, overlooking the scenery. And then, nothing. No wind, no water, no animals nor insects nor birds. Night sets in and it's quiet. Weird. But beautiful!
    The next day brings visitors, returning wind, horses and cows and of course, insects. We're not alone in the world after all.
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  • Day173

    Border crossing Tajikistan - Kyrgyzstan

    August 30, 2019 in Kyrgyzstan ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

    We spent way too little time in beautiful Tajikistan. But since we're running on a schedule, it couldn't be helped. At least we've seen the Wakhan and the Bartang valley and who knows, we might return!
    But for now our way leads us back to Osh. As the border a little further West is closed for foreigners unfortunately (meaning only Tajik and Kyrgyz people can cross), we are driving over the same pass, same border as a mere 10days ago. The way up to the Tajik side feels muuch longer, but Hans makes it and the procedures are as simple and straight forward as during the first time. We even manage to skip the narcotics officer again (this time he waves us past). Going down the pass in nomansland, we meet Dodiemo85 (follow them on Instagram). We had been following each other on social media as these two roam around in Central Asia as well, but we had no idea how close we were. Unfortunately, nomansland going in opposite directions is not the best place to meet, so we only have a brief chat. Would be lovely to meet them again though!
    Anyhow, Hans is getting low on fuel and we're keen on finishing this border business. Well, surprise at the Kyrgyz side: their internet is down and no passports can be processed. Now we know why the Tajiks still write everything by hand! Nothing can be done about it so we chat to fellow travelers for an hour or so. Once the system is up and running again, it takes about 20minutes for our passports to be checked and Hans's paperwork to be completed and we're back in Kyrgyzstan.
    It does feel a bit odd to drive the same road, but in the opposite direction. First time for us on this trip and I keep catching myself looking back to see if the view has changed, if there is more snow on the mountains, if I can glimpse something I haven't before. But then the views in front remind me that you never step in the same river twice. Pay attention to what's coming, it's beautiful!
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  • Day191

    Border crossing Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan

    September 17, 2019 in Kyrgyzstan ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    This border crossing was a special one. Why? Well, we had just arrived back in Osh at 4.10am this morning! Tom and I had flown back to Germany for a few days to see friends and family and attend two weddings. After a super exciting and special time that really felt like a holiday from our overlanding journey, today was the day to be reunited with Hans again. Quite wonderful.
    We pick up the car at Vlad's garage, get a few last bushings fixed, fill up the tanks (both of them as we're not sure about Diesel in Uzbekistan), get the last few groceries and head for the border.
    We know it's not far out from the city, but yet we're surprised how quickly we reach it. The Kyrgyz side is bustling with market stalls and money exchange booths but before I can suggest to exchange some money, we're already at the front gate. Tom had simply passed the long line of trucks and no one seems to mind. Quite the opposite: once we're through the first gate cars are even asked to move so that we can proceed. Tourists definitely enjoy advantages here. Someone picks up our temporary import document for Hans, our passports are stamped through a side window so the we don't have to queue, a quick look into Hans and off we are towards the Uzbek side.
    Here, we're not separated for the first time and both Tom and I get our passports checked by the (very good looking) guy who processes the paperwork for drivers. Lucky me, the "normal" hall seems to be a beehive! Tom and I are witnessing loud shouting, long queues and general discomfort while waiting for our papers. In the customs area just in front, things are much calmer. Our passports are stamped quickly, Tom takes care of Hans's paperwork and I get the honour to lead through the customs inspection for the first time. The customs officer actually laughs with me as I present the spatula when asked if we carry any weapons. Besides not getting a temporary import document (let's hope we won't need it) and a bit of confusion if we can go or not (we needed to stop for the dogs again, but were quickly released thereafter) a very nice and smooth border crossing. All thanks to us being tourists. Being preferred felt weird but at the same time we were super grateful as the day had already filled out heads with so many thoughts and impressions I'm not sure we would have been able to handle any problems. So thank you, sweet people in line and border officers. Uzbekistan, we're ready for you.
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  • Day26

    Uzgen and Osh

    June 10, 2019 in Kyrgyzstan ⋅ 🌫 16 °C

    Another big travel day. "Think positive " Nastacia tells us "and we will make good time and have good weather". And so we did, arriving at the town of Uzgen just after lunch. An ancient trading town and handicrafts centre on the Silk Road, its main attraction is an rebuilt 11th century minaret and a trio of ornately carved mausoleums from the 11th to 13th century. The detailed brickwork was certainly very impressive.

    Osh, a city of around 200,000, is located a mere 5 km from the border with Uzbekistan, in the southern part of Kyrgyzstan. Once part of the much larger area of Turkistan, the 2 countries were created on the basis of ethnic divisions during the Soviet era ( 1917-1991). Osh has a large Uzbek population and thus is much more like its neighbour than it's more northern Kyrgyz communities. It has a more clearly Islamic identity and ethnic tensions have resulted in violent clashes in recent times.

    It was a relief to finally arrive at our hotel. We even treated ourselves to laundry service! We were surprised to be taken to an Italian restaurant for dinner, but it was actually a treat to have pizza and wine. On top of that, Nastacia had organized a surprise birthday cake for group member Lauren. This was the second birthday of the Kyrgyzstan tour, with Vitaly having his birthday only a few days before.

    Next morning we explored the somewhat old-fashioned but nonetheless interesting Historical Museum. Nastacia provided valuable insight into the prehistory and more recent history of Kyrgyzstan, as well as some of the cultural practices.

    Osh nestles at the base of Suleiman-Too Sacred Mountain, the only World Heritage Site in Kyrgyzstan. An imposing rock worthy of a climb, even on a hot day. For centuries Silk Road travellers have sought out the mountains caves and petroglyphs in the belief they would be blessed with longevity (amongst other things). Apparently it ranks amongst Central Asians as Islams third holiest shrine. A museum set within one of the caves presents a commentary on archaeological finds from the area and has wacky lights that are meant to look like stalagtites.

    Along the path to the lookout we came across women and children sliding down a slightly inclined rock. Said rock is supposed to help a) women who want to become pregnant and b) anyone with a sore back. One woman must have been very keen to become pregnant as she must have repeated her slide a dozen or so times!

    A quick wander through the local bazaar and an amazing theme park and it was time for our final Kyrgyzstan dinner. I think we were pretty unanimous that Nastacia and Vitaly had given us a fabulous experience in Kyrgyzstan and would be sorely missed.
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  • Day27

    Osh

    August 24, 2019 in Kyrgyzstan ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Helaas was Osh onze laatste bestemming! We beklommen de berg die een overzicht over de stad geeft, brachten een bezoekje aan Lenin en slenterden nog een laatste keer door een grote bazaar.

  • Day158

    Crossing from Kyrgystan to Tajikistan

    September 30, 2019 in Kyrgyzstan ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    The journey to the border from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan was riddled with problems: the cooling system was still overheating even though some repairs including a new water pump have been completed. A well operating cooling system is kind of essential if you want to conquer the Pamir Highway, the second highest highway with passes up to 4655m and the highest country border. Ah well, after several stops and goes I decided, slowly but steady wins the race and to take the risk.
    So with a few stops to cool down the radiator I finally made it to the border crossing. No long wait as not too many people take this route.
    So first the Kyrgyz pass control, quick and easy. Unfortunately Rexby couldn’t do without a bark, so I had to show the doggy pass port and his Vet certificate. It is apparently a requirement that you get the dog vet checked before each border, which is a bit difficult as there aren’t too many vets around. I and all the other dog holders have never done this either.
    What can I do but blatantly offering him the vet check performed for Rex’s entry into Russia, which he accepted? My pride of my brazenness was short lived as he now made further checks of the dog passport and found that I don’t have an entry stamp into Kyrgyzstan in the document. Now, a dog I did not import into Kyrgyzstan I cannot export he tells me. So please what can I do???
    I will be travelling the Pamir in convoy with Christoph, a German guy and Lena his Russian friend. I quickly asked Lena, into the office to translate. I asked, what can I do now? Well, I am told, you have to go back to the border where you entered the country. “No I cannot travel back, my visa will not allow me.” “I don’t care, not my problem!” and so it went. Lena was really giving all she had: “you will need to shoot the dog, we will not travel leaving him here” “you have a gun, let’s go outside and shoot the dog!” Ahhh, the Russian temperament!!!
    I tried another avenue: “my husband has died, and now I have this dog as protection! I can impossible travel on without the dog.” It was very cold and my nose started running, so I sniffed. I caught his eye which made me to wipe my eye for good measure, and the other eye as well. I don’t know, what made him change his mind, the prospect of great difficulties with his authorities, when shooting a dog at the border or a crying woman, but he gave me the stamp. So after 20mins or so we left the office with the stamp on the document hopefully successfully hiding our triumph. Thanks so much Lena!!!!
    Now through the noman’s Land again to the Tadjik border.
    The border is quite a ramshackle affair with some decrepit containers as offices. Into the first office: I say my salam alaykums and ask them in Farsi how they are going, Hojat, you would have been proud of me, and in no time I had a biscuit between my teeth and a stamp in my passport. I asked them, Please, please please put a stamp into my dog’s passport as well, but no, I will get this in the quarantine office.
    The next office I attempt to enter and I am told, to go out again and take my shoes of first. So I take off my shoes and back in I go. The same Farsi ritual, some small talk in English, 245 somoni paid and out I am. Christoph later told me he had to pay the double of that and not even long discussions made the officer change his mind. I really have to work on my language skills, seems to be opening doors.
    Next office, quarantine. Same initial procedure, which always seem to be followed by a happy smile. I of course was a bit nervous, did I not have the veterinary certificate, but he only wanted to know if the dog is healthy. Oh yes, healthy he certainly is. Some more documents and the coveted stamp in my doggy passport and through the border I was.
    I drove through the gate, but I was still waiting for my travel companions. Whilst I was sitting in my car, one of the officers of the quarantine office called my back in. Now they’ve got me.
    But to my biggest surprise when I enter the office, they usher me into the second room, I am offered a little stool and on a log of timber in front of me they placed a frying pan with a yummy potato stew they have cooked themselves in front of me. Who had ever been served food by a customs officer! I was speechless about this welcome to Tajikistan!
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  • Day21

    Osh - im Süden Kirgistans

    August 4, 2019 in Kyrgyzstan ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Nach 13 Stunden im shared Taxi durch traumhafte Berglandschaften erreichten wir die Stadt Osh im Süden Kirgistans. Eine umstrittene Region im Ländereck mit Usbekistan und Tadjikistan.
    Wir erholen uns hier ein paar Tage und nutzten die Zeit um Leute zu finden, die ebenfalls den Pamir-Highway fahren möchten. Das hat geklappt: und so fahren wir morgen zu sechst los im großen Geländewagen mit zwei Australiern und zwei Italienern. Heute haben wir noch Zeit ein paar Einkäufe auf dem Bazaar zu erledigen und die Stadt mit einer der größten Lenin-Statuen zu besichtigen. Wir haben auch ein nettes Hostel gefunden Nahe des Stadthügels Sulayman-Suu (tolle Aussicht!), wo wir sehr erfreut festgestellt haben, dass es Tischtennisplatte und Billiard-Tisch gibt.
    Vegetarisches Essen haben wir auch gefunden: Manti Maydan - Kartoffeltaschen frisch zubereitet, sehr lecker.
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  • Day28

    Ein verlustreicher Morgen

    August 23, 2019 in Kyrgyzstan ⋅ ☀️ 4 °C

    Am Morgen zeigte sich ein wunderschöner Ausblick über das ganze Tal und vor allem über die umherliegenden Berge. Ein Junge auf einem Esel kommt zu uns geritten. Wir sollen auf seinem Esel reiten. Das tun wir auch und geben ihm nachher als Belohnung etwas Obst. Als er nach Geld fragt, können wir ihm nur Tadschikisches geben, da wir schon alles getauscht haben. Erst am Abend haben wir herausgefunden, dass der Junge sich selbst belohnt hat. Wir vermissten die gute Würth-Kopflampe. Nun steht einer von uns immer im Dunkeln.

    Nach dem Frühstück geht es zum kirgisischen Grenzposten. Diese Kontrolle dauert insgesamt nur 7 Minuten. Hier wird auch das russische Einfuhrdokument fürs Auto benötigt. Zum Glück ist alles ordentlich abgeheftet. Wir sind positiv überrascht und machen uns auf den Weg zum tadschikischen Grenzposten.

    Dieser kommt nämlich erst nach 20km Fahrt durchs Niemandsland. Und zwar keine Angenehme. Es geht einen Schotterweg steil nach oben. Immerhin müssen wir bis auf 4200m.

    Noch ein bis zwei Kilometer vor dem höchsten Punkt treffen wir einen Polen und einen Japaner. Beide haben sich erst irgendwo in Kirgisistan getroffen und touren nun zusammen mit ihren Motorrädern. Leider hat das Motorrad des Polen Probleme mit der Höhe. Die Leistung ist zu schwach um die starke Steigung zu bewältigen. Er kann kein Gepäck abnehmen und der Abschleppversuch durch uns scheitert auch. Da er zu wissen ahnt, was es ist, will er den Tank abbauen. Um weiter zu warten, fehlt uns die Zeit. Wir fahren also weiter und freuen uns über die neuen interessanten Bekanntschaften.
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  • Day27

    Der Pamir ruft

    August 22, 2019 in Kyrgyzstan ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Nach einer Stärkung mit Hackspießen und Brot aus einem Plastikbeutel ging es weiter.

    Auf dem Weg zum Pamir hielten wir noch an einem Mausoleum und einem Minarett (Aussichtsturm) aus dem 11. Jahrhundert.
    Das nutzten wir noch ein letztes Mal, bevor wir auf uns auf ganz andere Höhen bewegten.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Osh Oblasty, Ош Облусу, Ошская Область

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